Vodafone has conducted a field trial of fixed access network slicing – creating separate consumer and enterprise virtual network slices on a live FTTH network in Ireland.
FTTH network’s consumer slice carried broadband internet and Vodafone TV services whereas the enterprise slice carried OneNet business services including voice.
Huawei, the technology partner of Vodafone, said the virtual access network solution partitions a physical fibre to the home (FTTH) network into multiple virtual network slices, creating multi-tenancy virtualization of the access network.
Vodafone’s different operations teams will have flexibility and full control to manage their own customers, even if there is only one physical access network.
Vodafone’s operating teams can securely provision and dynamically configure consumer and enterprise customers plus mobile backhaul connections. This allows converged operators such as Vodafone to optimize their business practices and operational processes across different business areas. It has the potential to facilitate new joint-venture and co-investment partner models for operating FTTH networks.
Broadband Forum in its TR-370 Technical Report, which was led by Vodafone Group, has recently standardized the architecture and equipment requirements for Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS).
Vodafone conducted the virtual access network trial on Huawei MA5800, a new-generation smart optical line terminal (OLT). The MA5800 uses a distributed architecture similar to a core router, which can partition a physical OLT into multiple virtual OLTs.
Different logical OLTs have independent hardware resources and software systems, and can be separately managed and configured. The trial results showed the successful operation of MA5800 virtual access network architecture.
“Virtualization of the fixed access network will help us build and fill FTTH networks in a more cost-effective way that takes advantage of new operating models where both Vodafone and its deployment partners are able to differentiate their services over the shared fibre infrastructure,” said Matt Beal, director of Strategy & Architecture, Vodafone Group Technology.
“The introduction of the access virtualization technology is an important step for our commitment to be at the forefront of technological innovation. This will translate into a better network experience offered to our fixed customers,” said Madalina Suceveanu, Vodafone Ireland Technology Director.
Jeff Wang, president of Huawei Access Network, said the network slicing solution can provide independent operation and maintenance management for multi-services bearing, and it can help to improve equipment efficiency, reduce operation and maintenance costs and achieve business success.
Vodafone Group’s Networks Centre of Excellence team and the Huawei Mobile Innovation Centre have completed the world’s first trial of GSM/LTE (GL) 900MHz dynamic spectrum sharing on Vodafone’s networks in the Black Coast city of Trabzon.
Last year, Vodafone and Huawei achieved overlap by 2G and 4G services within the 900 MHz spectrum band. It is possible to assign that spectrum dynamically i.e. available 900 MHz can be allocated between 4G and 2G services based on customer demand. The test cases showed that download and upload throughput improved by 20 percent.
Mallik Rao, chief technology officer of Vodafone Turkey, said that this network optimization technique improves spectral efficiency and enhances the experience of Vodafone customers.